Dropping the jargon – why law firm training courses should focus less on the law and more on how to practise it
Formal training courses aimed at developing the legal skills of lawyers are often not effective learning tools at all. In order to improve, law firms must invest more time and resources into designing training sessions that use case studies, simulation and experience sharing. It is also important that greater investment is made in the training of facilitators so that they are more effective in coaching participants during a session. Traditional training methods have too great a focus on the law itself, rather than how to practise it. To be good lawyers, fee earners must learn key skills such as how to apply and give legal advice that is relevant to the client and their business, as well as how to present to a client without bamboozling them with law jargon. Speaking in the language of the client is crucial. If a formal training framework is a pre-requisite, that alone is not sufficient. The most effective and beneficial method of learning professional practice – and lawyers are not so different from other professions such as auditors or consultants – comes from shadowing and being coached by more senior lawyers.
Formal law firm training schemes are ofen too focused on the law rather than how it should be practised, says DLA Piper’s Delphine Chevallier, who argues associates are far better served by deal simulations and learning how to speak the same language as clients
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